YNAB's 3 Core Concepts In case it's not painfully obvious, there are a few reasons why making current spending decisions based on anticipated income is a really bad idea. Unprecedented levels of unemployment ring any bells? Even if you have enviable job security, basing today's plans on tomorrow's income is putting the cart before the horse. It's not a good way to make a solid plan. Employment and salary security aside, anticipated-income budgeting leaves a whole host of folks out in … [Read more...] about Why YNAB? A Detailed Breakdown of YNAB’s Unique Layered Approach to Budgeting
Articles, Essays, and Think Pieces
The term Credit Card Float has two general meanings: First, the most widely used, generic definition of a credit card float refers to the cushion or “float” of time between when you make a charge to your credit card and when the money is actually due (when you have to pay the credit card bill). This float period can be anywhere from 21 to 52+ days. This variance in time has to do with where the purchase date falls in relation to your card’s billing cycle and statement due date. The second … [Read more...] about What is a Credit Card Float?
I attended a professional development conference today at MSU Denver (my alma mater). In one of the workshop sessions, the presenter mentioned — just as a side comment but with no small measure of pride — that each of his four children do their own laundry and have done so since the age of 5. The workshop was excellent. The content was interesting and the presenter’s perspective was fresh and interesting. But it was the totally random aside about four children each doing their own laundry … [Read more...] about Dirty Laundry
January 2018. The start of a brand new year. Some people start the year with some New Year's Resolutions. I'm not one of them. It's just not my thing. Nevertheless, I do tend to view the beginning of a new year as a good time to make a fresh start. And I use the beginning of a new year as a reminder for several household and finance maintenance tasks such as changing the batteries in my smoke alarms and pulling the first of my three free consumer credit reports for the year. According to … [Read more...] about How to Pull a Free Credit Report
It’s nearly that time of the year again — time to harvest the cash back rewards I’ve “earned” on my various credit cards. From a strictly rational maximizing point of view, the best method would be to claim my cash rewards multiple times throughout the year and put that money to work immediately. But as with every money decision we make: it’s personal. In this case the rational-maximizer part of me is easily shouted down by the irrational big-payday emotional- and … [Read more...] about Harvesting Credit Card Rewards
Listen up, fellow budgeters. As you know, I’m all about being financially prepared for the irregular expenses in life. One of the many expenses I point out when discussing irregular expenses (those that don’t happen monthly but do occur on a regular and somewhat predictable schedule) is tires. Yup, new tires for your vehicle(s). My family owns two Subarus. We love them. We’re Subaru devotees. But being a Subaru owner means being prepared to replace four tires all at the same time. Unlike … [Read more...] about New Tires – Are you ready?
The core tenets of my work as a personal money coach: approach each client with unconditional positive regard, andreject the notion that everyone secretly yearns for (and should yearn for) a white, upper-middle class lifestyle. My experience of the Personal Finance world and of Personal Finance “professionals” is that they generally assume that second point — that everyone yearns for the same image of financial independence: a mortgage-free home in a solid upper-middle-class neighborhood, … [Read more...] about The American Dream: the normative personal finance bias
Human beings are masters at rationalizing behavior. We rationalize our decisions by telling ourselves “I deserve it” or “I don’t have any other choice.” When we splurge or give in to our wants, what’s the good of rationalizing it? Are we truly exonerated when we tell ourselves that we “deserved” it instead of just admitting to ourselves that we “wanted” it? Try this exercise: The next time you’re tempted to indulge or splurge on an unplanned or unbudgeted expense, don’t go with … [Read more...] about Stop Rationalizing It and Start Owning It
One of the most frequently raised issues among new YNABsters is the monthly layout of the YNAB4 Budget screen*. Perhaps you're paid once a month on the 15th and you want your "month" to run from the 15th of one month to the 14th of the next. Or maybe you're paid every two weeks and you want the "month" time blocks to be "two week" blocks instead. Or are you struggling because you have big payments due early in the month so you pay them in the previous month? It's confusing to budget this … [Read more...] about Can I Change the Month Start Date in YNAB?
Unless you’ve just landed from Mars, chances are you’re familiar with the concept of the Emergency Fund (EF). Every financial guru I’m aware of preaches the need for an emergency fund. I do not have an Emergency Fund. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all about having money to cover emergencies. The problem is that the concept of an Emergency Fund is overused and the purpose and scope of the EF is too generalized and nebulous (unclear, vague, or ill-defined). In … [Read more...] about Why I Don’t Have an “Emergency Fund”